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Censorship The Military United States Games Your Rights Online

Controversy Arises Over Taliban Option In Medal of Honor 671

Posted by Soulskill
from the yes-this-again dept.
eldavojohn writes "CVG is covering the controversy surrounding players' ability to play as a member of the Taliban in EA's Medal of Honor multiplayer. Fox News hopped on the wagon, interviewing a Gold Star mom whose son died in Iraq. She said, 'My son didn't get to start over when he was killed. His life was over and I had to deal with that every day. There's 1200 families from Afghanistan that have to live with this every day. And we live it — it's not a game... EA is very cavalier about it: "Well, it's just a game." But it isn't a game to the people who are suffering from the loss of the children and loved ones.' EA's response to this criticism of giving players the objective to 'gun down American troops' was this: 'Medal Of Honor is set in today's war, putting players in the boots of today's soldier... We give gamers the opportunity to play both sides. Most of us have been doing this since we were seven. If someone's the cop, someone's got to be the robber, someone's got to be the pirate, somebody's got to be the alien. In Medal Of Honor multiplayer, someone has to be the Taliban.' Of course the story recalls Six Days in Fallujah, which was dropped by Konami following similar controversy. It's clear at least a few people take issue with games surrounding modern conflicts."
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Controversy Arises Over Taliban Option In Medal of Honor

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  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:07PM (#33268182) Homepage Journal

    She said, 'My son didn't get to start over when he was killed. His life was over and I had to deal with that every day. There's 1200 families from Afghanistan that have to live with this every day. And we live it -- it's not a game..

    That's funny, I hear that's what the people on the other side said too, except possibly in another language.

    Last I heard, American soldiers were supposed to be fighting to preserve a way of life, a way which includes freedom of expression.

  • by russotto (537200) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:10PM (#33268214) Journal

    ...he'd be playing war games (not necessarily on a computer) where he played the side of the Taliban.

  • uhh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by buddyglass (925859) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:11PM (#33268218)
    Was there any outcry when Battlefield Viet Nam came out? Because you can totally frag G.I.s in that game, and there are plenty of Viet Nam vets still around.
  • Counter Strike (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mantrid42 (972953) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:12PM (#33268230)
    You've been able to play as a Terrorist in Counter Strike since day one. It came out ten god damn years ago.
  • Well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:13PM (#33268248)

    My son didn't get to start over when he was killed. His life was over and I had to deal with that every day. There's 1200 families from Afghanistan that have to live with this every day

    I feel your pain. Given our nation's involuntary draft, the servicemen who have died in the war thus far did so against their will. They did not know what they were fighting for, and what they were ready to give up to secure our freedoms.

    Oh, wait. They did. They bleed crimson red so we can maintain our way of life. They chose to join the service.

    You do a disservice to the fallen soldiers memories by acting like the very corrupt, anti-American terrorists. How dare you?

    They died for us. It's our job to keep on living and enjoy life. You've better things to do than to wallow about some videogame.

  • by ComputerGeek01 (1182793) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:13PM (#33268250)
    I have a Great Grandfather that died in WW2, do you think anyone in my family complains that everyother video game title out there centers on this conflict? How about games where you could be the Germans? I don't here a whole lot of gripping from Fox News about them. I don't get why this person wouldn't want her sons story, and the stories of all of the soldiers over there from every other country, to be told to the world in a form that the youth will acctually pay attention to.
  • by Soilworker (795251) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:14PM (#33268264)

    Dear Mom,

    You're currently destroying all the effort your son made fighting a threat to your freedom.

    Thanks,
    The talibans.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:14PM (#33268270)

    So I guess that in all WW2 games sold in Germany, we play the Nazis?
    Oh I forgot, what you said is only good with the center of the world: the USA.

  • by Hadlock (143607) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:16PM (#33268284) Homepage Journal

    ....Even if someone somehow forced you to buy the game, most servers have the option to let you choose your team. Don't like the Taliban, but don't have the time to be a real soldier? Join the American team! Kick some Taliban ass! We're now 10 years deep into the latest conflict. When can people start talking about this conflict as a reflection of our culture? It has to happen sometime.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:16PM (#33268288)

    Irrelevant. He should have know the risk when he started to work as a soldier.
    Should we stop making games/movies/etc. containing firemen/policemen/etc. because those people also died in their line of duty?

  • Re:uhh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by linzeal (197905) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:17PM (#33268302) Homepage Journal
    No, but since the first Gulf War when they changed how reporters operate, pictures can be taken and statistics collected war has been sanitized of any moral ambiguity so much that people react to anyone the US bombs back into the stone age as Nazis. Oh wait, you can play Nazis in like 10 games.
  • by xMilkmanDanx (866344) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:18PM (#33268310) Homepage

    There isn't a mod -1 insensitive option.

    And he does have a point, just because we don't hear the other side doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Anytime you're dealing with a 'modern' conflict (as in the events are still fresh) you're going to be stepping on people's losses.

    I do question the wisdom in choosing a real and current conflict as a game setting. An even slightly fictionalized setting, would do much to reduce this negative association.

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:18PM (#33268330)
    I don't have any problem with this but I hope the simulation is realistic i.e as Taliban I want to be able to stone teenage girls to death, bury homosexuals alive, dynamite priceless historic monuments and beat people for listening to music. Are those options available?
  • by wjousts (1529427) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:19PM (#33268340)
    Sorry, does the idea that people on the other side have families that grief the loss of their loved ones make you uncomfortable?
  • What the fuck ever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:20PM (#33268364)

    Yuppies are die hard hypocrite pussies. Wake me up when a game contains the following plot:

    1. A foreign invader bombs your village and drops leaflets about liberation
    2. You lose one cousin to an errant bomb, another is killed by a rival tribe
    3. The electric grid starts to fail. Riots take over the streets, and you can no longer go to school or even visit family across town
    4. Finally, your mother is forced into prostitution because your father was abducted, tortured, and killed by the invaders
    5. You completely lose your mind and embark on a mission to kill at least one foreigner in retribution for the suffering you have endured

    When that shit happens, video games will be art, and they will start to matter. Any complaining about obviously pro-American games like Medal of Honor is the most pathetic and empty endorsement of patriotism I've heard this week. And trust me, there's a lot of competition.

  • by toriver (11308) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:21PM (#33268380)

    Remember: It's not art unless someone is offended. If it offends no-one it is merely entertainment.

    Or we could restrict game topics to pre-1900 conflicts in case there are some long-lived victims around.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:23PM (#33268408)

    "These days", huh? Well, if you could go back to whatever previous "days" you imagine as the time when freedom of expression wasn't a myth, you'd find that it too was chock full of people like you smugly declaring that "freedom of expression is pretty much a myth these days". They were as wrong then as you are now.

  • by Gilandune (1266114) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:27PM (#33268458) Homepage

    That does not explain why the game should be banned/censored, which, if i remember correctly, is the point of this discussion. We all agree that freedom of speech goes both ways but, one parties freedom of speech shouldnt be so much more important than the other one as to be able to censor it.

  • by TheDarkPassenger (1840942) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:28PM (#33268476)
    :)
  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:29PM (#33268490) Journal

    There is a game called Red Orchestra: Ostfront 1941-45. As the name implies, it's a (multiplayer) FPS set on WW2 Eastern Front, with Germans and Soviets being two opposing factions. Naturally, it lets you play for either one. It is also fairly realistic, not just in gameplay, but in depictions of various things - i.e. all swastikas and such are in place where they should be, and so on.

    Now, forget Afghanistan, heck, forget even Vietnam - Soviet Union lost 10 million soldiers in WW2. 10 fucking million!

    Which does not preclude Russian gamers today - including those having WW2 vets in the family - from playing this game in general, or playing it specifically for the Germans. If anything, the game is actually strongly appreciated for being one of the few Western games that deal with the subject of Eastern Front (which bore the brunt of the war) at all - most Western movies and games about WW2 focus on Allied, and, more specifically, American involvement, to the point that it seems sometimes that war in Europe started with the landings in Normandy...

  • by Bryansix (761547) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:32PM (#33268520) Homepage
    Only this has Everything to do with freedom. Censorship comes in many forms including self censorship and censorship by ridicule.
  • To be fair.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ArbitraryDescriptor (1257752) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:34PM (#33268552)
    I can't watch the video, so this is based solely on the summary. It is entirely possible that the 'Gold Star Mom' (huh?) now objects to all depictions of war as entertainment. The summary doesn't say she thinks it's OK to play the US side, but not the side who killed her boy. It just says she objects to war being portrayed as a game.

    This is not a viewpoint that I share, but she's welcome to it.
  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:35PM (#33268560) Journal

    No, but you can't torture people in Gitmo either so in the end you just have to accept that you can't do everything both sides do.

  • by Obfuscant (592200) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:37PM (#33268584)
    Funny, that's almost the exact argument about whether to allow the mosque to be built next to Ground Zero... and Obama came out and supported it.

    Even as someone who thinks Obama is the worst and least qualified President we've had in the last 100 years, I will correct that statement in his favor. He pointed out, quite correctly, that there is no LAW preventing them from building there, and that the Constitution (which he has shredded with his takeover of the health care system) gives them the right to practice their religion free of government control.

    This is significantly different than "I support them building there." It's kinda like "I don't agree with what you say but I'll defend your right to say it."

    I think it is arrogant and counterproductive to Islamic/US relations for them to build this symbol near ground zero, but the laws of this land say they can. That's what makes the US different than, e.g., Iran or just about any Islamic nation. I wonder what the world's reaction would be were Jews to build a huge synagogue on the site of the first Iranian nuclear reactor they bomb into smithereens. Or the liberal reaction had Bush said that the muslims have the right to build next to Ground Zero.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:40PM (#33268604) Journal
    It's gotta be rough playing Taliban where your only hope of anything is to shoot quickly than run, and hopefully you'll kill someone before you die, if you're lucky. Where if you ever begin to get the upper hand in any fight, your opponent calls in a helicopter that you have no defense against, or even hope to have a defense against. Where your only chance of winning is if your opponent decides to go home. That would be so depressing.
  • by adamofgreyskull (640712) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:41PM (#33268626)
    ...offended. Tagged "thinkofthechildren". Faux News sensationalism strikes again and were it not for them, the parents of dead soldiers would probably never have even heard about the game, let alone: "The Taliban Option". So who is the real villain?
  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:42PM (#33268634) Journal

    More to the point, should we ban games where you can play, say, a Mafia enforcer or a member of a Asian Triad? I mean, cops have died battling organized crime.

    In the end, while I can understand families of slain soldiers being opposite, so far as I'm concerned liberty trumps they're objections absolutely.

  • by bistromath007 (1253428) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:45PM (#33268672)
    It has everything to do with it. Freedom is sometimes in poor taste.
  • by Americano (920576) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:50PM (#33268744)

    Oh, hush with your "logic" and "reasonable arguments." This is slashdot, enjoy the down-mods! :)

  • by Torodung (31985) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:51PM (#33268762) Journal

    What now? Cave drawings are offensive? So is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or Rodin's "The Thinker?" So was the entire portraiture of Renoir? Who did Seurat offend with his "Sunday Afternoon?" Who's offended by (most) still life or landscape paintings?

    Art doesn't have to be offensive to be art, it just has to be offensive to make headlines in a sensationalist, pop-culture media. All art has to do, in general, is communicate something to its audience that cannot be communicated in any other medium.

    --
    Toro

  • Re:Um, no (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Geldon (444090) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:52PM (#33268776)

    Interesting. I didn't know that...

    I do appreciate the existentialism, though. I mean, in the end, doesn't every side of a battle see themselves as the patriots and their opponent as the "bad guys"*?

    *Insert whatever the term of choice is for the conflict in question. Whether it's Fascists, Commies, Terrorists, or Borg, it's still "the bad guys."

  • by idontgno (624372) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:52PM (#33268782) Journal

    Censorship comes in many forms including self censorship

    Basically true.

    and censorship by ridicule.

    Now you lost it. Ridicule isn't censorship. If's freedom from censorship. If I ridicule you, I hope you keep talking, so I can keep ridiculing.

    If ridicule censors you, that's you self-censoring for invalid reasons. Freedom requires courage sometimes. At some level, you can't blame someone else for your own lack of courage. (Yes, at the extreme, that means courage unto death. It's been done, and someday in the future it may need doing again.) But courage in the face of asshattery isn't so extreme, and the lack of it is properly risible.

  • Re:uhh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by linzeal (197905) on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:58PM (#33268872) Homepage Journal
    Show me a picture of a dead American soldier [google.com] in a major news paper and maybe I will believe you. Afghanistan is going on longer than Vietnam because we have no sense of what is going on over there except a bunch of words. Its like living in a time before there were cameras, even the Crimean had pictures of dead bodies on both sides published in newspapers at the time.
  • by PitaBred (632671) <(slashdot) (at) (pitabred.dyndns.org)> on Monday August 16, 2010 @04:59PM (#33268890) Homepage

    So... they're offending their target market, going to fail in the marketplace because nobody will buy the game, and collapse as a company? Great! Free market at work!

    Or it offends a few busybodies who make a bunch of noise, and... life goes on.

    If you don't like what they do, don't buy the damn game. It's not that hard. Just refuse to open your wallet when they hold you at gunpoint. Life's too short to get offended. You don't have a right to not be offended. You have a right to free speech and association.

  • by Bemopolis (698691) on Monday August 16, 2010 @05:00PM (#33268894)
    Which is funny, since Gitmo was the result of assuming that we COULD do everything both sides do.
  • by Seumas (6865) on Monday August 16, 2010 @05:07PM (#33268966)

    So movies about current military events in which people on both sides who have families and friends are killed are okay. Sensationalistic commercial news organizations living for the past decade eating out of this same trough are fine. Politicians exploiting the same thing for political gain are fine. Authors writing books about it are fine. VIdeogames, however, shouldn't dare come close to it?

    Videogames and other media about the current events are not undermining anything. Wanting to censor or ban those things, however, directly undermines everything that people claim the military is fighting for (I won't waste anyone's time getting into the obvious argument that shooting unarmed men and children in a van in the middle of the road and gloating about it and then covering it up doesn't seem to have anything to do with "protecting freedom").

    If this type of game would make you uncomfortable, you shouldn't buy it or play it. I don't like those SAW movies, so I don't buy or watch those. I love a good horror movie, but I don't care for torture porn. Again, if I don't like it, I don't have to contribute to or consume it. Those who do, can.

    I don't care about any "but my brother died in the military!" arguments. Who cares? That is very sad, but it has no relevance to free speech. This shouldn't even be a debate. We either embrace free speech or we don't. If we do, then this conversation is over. There's no caveat that says "except when it makes someone uncomfortable". And if we do, then let's do away with this bullshit notion and start censoring and banning everything.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday August 16, 2010 @05:11PM (#33269012) Journal

    find worrying that some people only play as germans, but I'll give them the benefit of doubt

    Well, I personally prefer playing for the Germans simply because their infantry weapons are somewhat superior - they've generally got slightly better iron sights; MP 40 is much easier to control in full auto than PPD, PPSh, and still easier than PPS; MG 42 is the king of machine guns; and, most importantly, on 1944-45 maps they have the epic win that is StG 44. I suspect that is why Germans seem to be slightly more popular in general.

    On tank maps, on the other hand, most prefer Soviets, because of T-34.

    Now, of course, there are also the occasional folk with nicknames such as "SiegHeil1488", but there isn't really any doubt there. In any case, if they want to waste time shooting pixels in a video game, rather than spending that same time beating up immigrants and Jews, I'm all for it.

  • by Seumas (6865) on Monday August 16, 2010 @05:14PM (#33269048)

    I don't see why she would be upset.

    I understand losing your child is a heartbreaking experience, even if they volunteered to be put in a situation where that was likely to happen. However, I'm pretty sure that does not destroy your capacity for thinking and rationality. This woman is like those crazy parents whose child dies in a freak drowning-in-a-bucket accident and then go on a lifelong crusade to ban buckets.

    Losing someone in a military action doesn't grant you any greater influence or control over "freedom of speech" than anyone else.

  • by KahabutDieDrake (1515139) on Monday August 16, 2010 @05:24PM (#33269150)
    I think you don't have the foggiest idea of the facts of the case. The so called ground zero mosque is more complicated and yet simpler than you imagine. High five for buying into the media blitz. Now lets have some facts to fuck up your opinions.

    The planned community center is NOT on ground zero. It's blocks away. Roughly equidistant from 2 other mosques already in place in the area. The "symbol" isn't a symbol. It's a freaking YMCA with slightly different religious overtones. The only appreciable difference is, right now, this country likes Christians and doesn't like Muslims. Racism, religionism, whatever you want to call it. This whole thing is about HATE mongering. The people behind this community center are the kind of people we need in this country. Smart, rational, empathetic, open minded and willing to compromise. The kind of people AGAINST this center are the kind of people we SHOULD be putting up against walls. They are extremists, and zealots. Both of which, no matter the creed, should be removed from society as they are of no benefit, and we KNOW THAT as a society.

    If providing a community center in NY, where exists dozens of similar centers from dozens of creeds is counter productive.... well I don't even know where to begin. Are you AWARE of your bias? Do you just not care? NY was once known as the melting pot. It was the place where dozens of religions, creeds and races mixed and more or less got along. If that is now not true anymore because of "ground zero".... well, I guess we can declare a winner can't we?
  • by MakinBacon (1476701) on Monday August 16, 2010 @05:28PM (#33269198)
    You don't seem to understand that there is NO LEGAL PRECEDENCE for denying a religious group the right to build a place of worship solely because you don't like them. The Constitution's 1st amendment was created with exactly this sort of situation in mind. If we do not allow them to build their mosque/community center, we are denying them one of the most fundamental rights of American law.
  • by fishbowl (7759) on Monday August 16, 2010 @05:32PM (#33269230)

    >In one word, yes. It's all a matter of sensibility.

    As soon as you define "matter of sensibility" in a way that has universal acceptance *or* can stand as a basis for a legal decision in court, it will be meaningful.

    Like pornography, just because "you know it when you see it", that doesn't make it a reasonable universal standard that can be applied to any given scenario.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 16, 2010 @05:33PM (#33269236)

    The moment you ragged on Obama as 'the worst President'. If you honestly think Bush was any better, then you have NO credibility at all with your statement.

    And yes, one thing has something to do with the other, since YOU decided to mention that.

    You comment being marked as 'insightful' says volumes about the readership of this site.

  • by AstrumPreliator (708436) on Monday August 16, 2010 @05:40PM (#33269296)
    My father would agree.

    He was in the Marine Corps in Vietnam. I've heard quite a few stories, mostly humorous, from his time in Vietnam. Although he's told me a few which were truly horrific. He saw things that colored his view of the world, just as I'm sure Gabe's grandfather did. My father can't stomach watching Saving Private Ryan, other movies based on war, or video games based on war. Video games tend to glamorize it, and both movies and video games tend to put in the gore to make it sickening for someone who has lived through it. He also talks about how you'll never truly understand what it's like until you're there and you see your friends die, smell the stench of death, live with the stress, and experience the fear.

    Having said all that I do play a lot of games. Games such as Red Orchestra I quite enjoy. I can handle simulated violence, I know it's fake. I know I wouldn't be able to handle it in real life though, so I respect veterans' for that and I understand why they have the views that they do. Although there are a lot of people in the current generation which can handle it. I've had a few friends go over to Iraq and Afghanistan who were gamers before and still are after. Although I've never spoken with any of them in depth about it.
  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Monday August 16, 2010 @05:47PM (#33269358) Journal

    I have some perspective. Plenty of it. Would you like some?

    No, we don't stone teenage girls to death, we put them down for how they are fat or ugly to the point where their self esteem gets so low that they commit suicide. [wikipedia.org]

    We don't bury homosexuals, we just kill them [wikipedia.org]

    We don't beat people for listening to certain kinds of music. Even if some are criminals, we just assume All their fans are gang members. [wikipedia.org]

    And of course the Americans have shown their importance of preserving monuments such as all the ones in Hiroshima.

    I mean you can't just say "But they are bad" and act like everything our society does is all high and mighty. Perhaps if you asked them why they are fighting you'd understand a bit more. Not all of them are shooting American troops because their God said so. Some of them dislike the embedded materialistic society we've created and want to stop the greed from spreading out of America. Most of them see this as an invasion, and they are fighting back.

    Torturing people to find out information to protect the soldiers you put there in the first place sure does seem to balance out nicely. Tell me, how does being in the middle east stop people from taking over American Jets? Couldn't those soldiers be manning the airports over here? Maybe then I wouldn't need a full body scanner to take a picture of my junk, instead I'd get someone who is a professional with weapons and demolitions to identify if I'm armed or not.

  • Ironic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PinkyGigglebrain (730753) on Monday August 16, 2010 @05:49PM (#33269380)
    Her son died in a war to "Protect Freedom". And yet she belittles his death by complaining about a game that allows the players the freedom to be whoever they want in the conflict.

    Lady, your son signed up because he believed it was the right thing to do, he died for his beliefs. The least you can do is respect what died for.

    I don't agree with this war but I respect those who at least have the balls to put their lives on the line for their beliefs. Its far more than most of us will ever do.
  • by fantomas (94850) on Monday August 16, 2010 @05:51PM (#33269398)

    Other things the same distance from Ground Zero [daryllang.com]. Just to put the distance into context and unpack the debate about what should be allowed planning permission in this area.

    Personally I think one option would be to have a row of religious buildings from all the major world religions built next to each other. That way nobody could be accused of being given preferential treatment and the believers of each religion would have to talk to each other and find ways of getting on with each other (yes I know this would either be ineffectual or a tinderbox in reality).

    Not sure of your expression "Islamic/ US relations" - I think these are orthogonal, they are not in the same dimension. Islam is a religion and the USA is a nation state, they are different types of entity. "Christian / Islamic relations" or "USA / Iranian relations" I would get. though the latter is slightly complicated as Iran I believe is a theocratic state.

  • by SETIGuy (33768) on Monday August 16, 2010 @05:55PM (#33269428) Homepage

    Cave drawings are offensive?

    To anyone who doesn't like the depiction of slaughter of animals for food, possibly.

    So is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or Rodin's "The Thinker?"

    The former has nudity. The latter depicts Dante contemplating Hell. I think you'd not have a problem finding someone who is offended by either.

    So was the entire portraiture of Renoir?

    Nudity again.

    Who did Seurat offend with his "Sunday Afternoon?"

    People who think colored dots are satanic. People who stand too close with their eyes crossed waiting for the 3D image of a dinosaur to appear.

    Who's offended by (most) still life or landscape paintings?

    Anyone who likes originality.

    Not that I'm agreeing that art is required to be offensive. I'm just pointing out that it's impossible to make any statement of any kind without offending someone. Offense is in the eye of the beholder, and is also the fault of the beholder. It is best ignored.

  • by rinoid (451982) on Monday August 16, 2010 @05:58PM (#33269462)

    What's next?

    Watching your social security trust fund go toward buying some more up-armored humvees, obtuse weapon systems, drones, and benefits for the blasted apart.

    Seriously dude, be upset that in the US we spend more than most nations COMBINED on defense. This will be the downfall of our country, that and the leeches that make up the top 2%.

    Ike knew it would lead to this:
    http://www.h-net.org/~hst306/documents/indust.html [h-net.org]

  • by jd (1658) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <kapimi>> on Monday August 16, 2010 @06:14PM (#33269576) Homepage Journal

    The US has a health care system? When did that happen?

  • Freedom of Speech (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheSpoom (715771) <slashdot@NOSpAM.uberm00.net> on Monday August 16, 2010 @06:46PM (#33269874) Homepage Journal

    You can't silence it, but you don't have to listen.

  • by Jerf (17166) on Monday August 16, 2010 @07:00PM (#33270038) Journal

    No, we don't stone teenage girls to death, ... don't bury homosexuals, we just kill them, ... don't beat people for listening to certain kinds of music.

    No, in fact we do not do any of those things. We in fact condemn those things and tend to prosecute and imprison the individuals who do those things. Just about the only way we could show our disagreement more strongly is to execute the individuals, but better than even odds says you'd consider that barbaric to, which leaves we with not much more we can do to show our displeasure.

    When the Taliban stone girls to death or actually, factually publicly execute gay people by burying them alive [glapn.org], they do so as the ruling government in question. If there is a "we" there, if there is in fact a broad public consent that this sort of stuff is OK, that's what it looks like.

    I utterly reject any suggestion that there is moral equivalence between the US and the Taliban, and say it says more about the person doing the equating's inability or refusal to see evil than about the US. The US isn't perfect, what a shocker, but the idea that we would publicly execute someone, or deeply weave honor killings into our culture, or engage in widespread female genital mutilation, is just absurd.

    (Besides, if we are morally equal no matter what we do than there's no great argument to get any better. You hate X for bruising someone, you hate X exactly equally for going on a mass murder rampage, you've not given X any particular reason to care what you think. Moral equivocation as a technique for trying to get the US to behave better is profoundly, deeply flawed, because it is based on entirely sacrificing the very idea that there is a "better" to be.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 16, 2010 @07:24PM (#33270254)

    The one difference between WW2 and current/recent wars is the near universal consensus on which side was in the right. GIs in WW2 had nearly universal support back home including a country that was mobilized behind them. From women entering the workforce to general rationing, the country stood behind them because it was recognized that winning the war was something that simply needed to be done. I imagine sentiment in the USSR was similar.

    Today's conflicts are much more nuanced. There's a substantial number of people, both in the US and abroad, who see the US troops as the persecutors rather than the defenders of freedom. It's entirely probable that people would play the game as the US's enemy believing that killing US soldiers was the equivalent of killing Nazis. There's no such fear when it comes to playing WW2 games since it's almost inconceivable to people that people would dishonor the memories of those who fought against the Nazis. Those soldiers are unimpeachable heroes and, therefore, don't need anyone to argue for avoiding video games on the subject.

    The morally-ambiguous nature of current conflicts causes those who believe strongly in one side or the other to object to the objectification of the conflict.

  • by Elektroschock (659467) on Monday August 16, 2010 @07:57PM (#33270592)

    When you are a solidier it is part of your normal duties that you could get killed in action. There is no moral argument in complaining about getting shot when you occupy a foreign nation and your nation attempts to impose your societal model on their nation. Many Afghans don't agree with Taliban opinions but many Taliban are Afghan while the occupying forces are not. I am not arguing that the invasion of Afghanistan is "wrong" because I don't moralize the military interests of the United States.

    Furthermore, soldiers are supposed to obey and do their duty, not to "fight to preserve a way of life, a way which includes freedom of expression" or pursue other personal political agendas. That is propaganda for the uninitiated. A military is rooted in the traditions when soldiers were like prisoners and 30% of them got killed in a single battle.

    Unlike warfare the current occupation of Afghanistan implies insignificant losses of coalition soldiers. That does not require all the mourning and respect for those killed in action [youtube.com], heroism tales and phrases like in a real war. Likely more Americans die in the making of the hollywood war movies about their heroes than in battle: car accidents, drugs, gun crime - you name it.

    Americans follow a strategy of their chess master Bobby Fischer and sacrifice the pawns of their opponents, even use machines to kill. I think war without risk leads to moral decay, it is not a fair fight. It is very useful that soldiers die because it reminds the nation that engaging in war should not be taken too easy and their leaders bear a responsibility for its military planning.

  • by alexo (9335) on Monday August 16, 2010 @08:11PM (#33270726) Journal

    I can walk into a medical center and get the best healthcare available in the world for me or my family. I'm unclear what your point is. That I have to pay for it?

    You can also get the best justice available in the world, with the same caveat.

  • No, I disagree (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Chicken_Kickers (1062164) on Monday August 16, 2010 @08:22PM (#33270818)

    You know what, screw you. Screw you because you lumped all Muslims as supporting the terrorists. Screw you because people like you are one of the reasons why many misguided Muslims turn to terrorism. Screw you because you are against real Muslims trying to bridge the divide with the American people. Screw you because you made a hypothetical straw man argument. Yeah, mod me down as a troll or what not. I'm a Muslim and I am against terrorism in any form, be it carried out by amateurs or by someone hiding behind a Predator Drone. The US had destroyed more civilian buildings, killed more innocent people, wiped off villages off the map, then what was lost during the September 11 attacks. It has destabilised the volatile Afghanistan region and is kindling a greater fire in Kurdistan. All this at the cost of benefiting the people behind the original attacks and your military-industrial complex. What is wrong with allowing some people trying to heal the wounds by building this Islamic Centre? (it is not a mosque)

  • by fishexe (168879) on Monday August 16, 2010 @08:26PM (#33270858) Homepage

    Mod parent down. I know this family, and it is highly insensitive of you to put it this way.

    Because innocent Afghans who've lost family members to US bombing are totally different from Americans who've lost loved ones to Taliban attacks, and it's highly insensitive to make it sound like they have something in common, right?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 16, 2010 @08:30PM (#33270896)

    Torture does not yield reliable information.

    Really? So if I torture you to get your PIN then it would never work even though I can verify if you've given me false information and keep torturing you?

    I think what you meant to say is that torture only works when you can verify that it works before releasing the prisoner.

    It's still unethical though. I agree with you on that.

  • by PitaBred (632671) <(slashdot) (at) (pitabred.dyndns.org)> on Monday August 16, 2010 @08:32PM (#33270928) Homepage

    Go ahead and object until you turn blue. I'm just pissed off that shit like this ends up making new censorship laws more often than not.

  • by fishexe (168879) on Monday August 16, 2010 @08:36PM (#33271002) Homepage

    Remember: It's not art unless someone is offended. If it offends no-one it is merely entertainment.

    Although the converse is not true: many things are offensive and yet still are merely entertainment.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday August 16, 2010 @08:39PM (#33271042) Homepage

    I wonder how many enemy's sons her son killed...oh, wait, they don't count.

  • by bloodhawk (813939) on Monday August 16, 2010 @08:54PM (#33271200)
    last I checked there were more than 1200 afghan families in a similar situation just this year and they weren't even soldiers. So how exactly is it highly insensitive to point out her hypocrisy. If she wants to protest against modern conflict games that's fine, but to protest just against american deaths is purely hypocritical.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 16, 2010 @09:00PM (#33271260)

    Hatred toward Islam, as the most toxic by far of all desert superstitions, is quite reasonable. All believers are either extremists or enablers thereof. Visit an Islamic society and unless you are Muslim, you will appreciate just how toxic unfettered Islam is.

    Question: did you visit one? If not, just how do you know?

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday August 16, 2010 @09:35PM (#33271560) Journal

    Sorry, does the idea that people on the other side have families that grief the loss of their loved ones make you uncomfortable?

    The propagandists try very hard to make sure we aren't uncomfortable about whatever happens to "the other guy."
    Why else would anyone describe the events which transpired in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba & Abu Ghraib, Iraq as "fraternity hazing."

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday August 16, 2010 @09:49PM (#33271708) Homepage Journal

    No, we don't stone teenage girls to death, ... don't bury homosexuals, we just kill them, ... don't beat people for listening to certain kinds of music.

    No, in fact we do not do any of those things. We in fact condemn those things and tend to prosecute and imprison the individuals who do those things. Just about the only way we could show our disagreement more strongly is to execute the individuals, but better than even odds says you'd consider that barbaric to, which leaves we with not much more we can do to show our displeasure.

    The Western lifestyle, which includes being able to drive one's fat ass down to Wal-Mart to buy some plastic shit for next to nothing, is predicated upon slavery, murder, and torture. We simply have abstracted this stuff away from our lives by exporting it to China. You and I and everyone you know is partially responsible for these acts. We know that the people making the crap at the dollar store are likely to be doing it inside a prison camp where they've been imprisoned for their political or religious views, but we still shop there (as a people.) You might like to think that if you saw someone being enslaved before you that you would act; would you then go forth and stop people from selling goods made by slaves? Our government indeed has been one of the largest funding sources for the Taliban, but we still pay our taxes. We are partially complicit, you and I, in the successes of the Taliban. I like to pretend I have the moral high ground sometimes too, but I think reality is substantially different than what you're telling yourself.

  • Re:Poor timing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Alanonfire (1415379) on Monday August 16, 2010 @10:46PM (#33272104)
    I like your use of "*sigh*" to start your arrogant "I don't care about anyone but myself" post. It didn't make you come across as either:

    1) A bad troll
    2) A little kid

    If your need to exercise your freedom of expression overpowers your ethics, you probably have some serious social disorders. I can tell that you don't share my morals or ethics, because you put yourself ahead of people around you.

    Thanks for your reply, this is exactly what I was anticipating in response.
  • by Anzya (464805) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @02:15AM (#33273044)

    Just as the death penalty is made acceptable by lethal injection, appropriate technology could assist information extraction with less stress on the people doing the interrogating.

    On the other hand. Not everyone believes that the death penalty is acceptable regardless of the method.

  • easy solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @02:44AM (#33273136) Homepage Journal

    And we live it -- it's not a game... EA is very cavalier about it: "Well, it's just a game." But it isn't a game to the people who are suffering from the loss of the children and loved ones.'

    Easy solution: Don't buy it, don't play it. There, solved that for you.

    Really, we as a society need to get out of this stupid tribal mindset that we are offended by things that other people do with no effect whatsoever on ourselves. I'll admit up front that it isn't the same level of evil, but it is in the same category (semantically) as Taliban who are offended at other people being in love with each other.

    And yes, I say that to a griefing mother. Grief makes you irrational, and irrational people should not be the ones who decide how society works. They deserve our support and comfort, but they don't deserve to dictate policy.

  • by Tom (822) on Tuesday August 17, 2010 @03:19AM (#33273242) Homepage Journal

    In fact, once we have RFID bullets, I'm thinking about setting up an Internet site that brings mothers of soldiers in contact with the mothers of the enemy soldiers their sons have killed.

    It'll be interesting to see how long wars can last after that. War mostly works only because it is anonymous. And we've known that for a long time, it's one of the strongly emotional topics in "Im Westen nichts Neues" ("All Quiet on the Western Front"). We just don't yet have the technology to break through it.

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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